PRE-POLL voting has opened across the New England electorate and is proving popular with voters.
In the Northern Tablelands by-election, pre-poll voting numbers climbed dramatically from past elections, and it seems the trend’s continuing in the run-up to the September 7 federal election.
Pre-poll centres have already opened in Tamworth and Armidale and are due to open from next week in Gunnedah, Inverell and Tenterfield.
In Tamworth, voters who have a reason they can’t vote on September 7 can go to the centre at the bottom end of Darling St, while in Armidale it’s in Faulkner St in the Greater Building Society building.
Centres in Inverell (Flanders House, Evans St), Gunnedah (the Gunnedah Shire building) and Tenterfield (the Tenterfield Memorial Hall, Molesworth St) will open next week.
Most are open between 8.30am and 5pm, but voters should check the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) website for the opening times.
AEC state manager Doug Orr said in Tamworth yesterday 700 votes had been recorded, and the Tamworth and Armidale centres were on track to beat the number of pre-poll votes at the 2010 election.
“We were planning on taking about 4600 (pre-poll) votes in Tamworth all up, but we’ve taken just under 2400 already,” he said.
In Armidale it was estimated about 3000 votes would be taken; it was up to 1200 by the end of yesterday.
It reflected a trend across the nation, Mr Orr said, evident in the past 10 to 15 years.
“In 2007 and 2010 (the last two federal elections) there was a marked increase,” Mr Orr said.